Talking with Your Teen

As the parent of a teenager, it is important that you talk to your teen regularly about what is happening in his life. While it may be difficult to get your teen to start talking to you, there are some strategies that you can use to encourage dialogue so that you can learn more about your child’s fears, dreams and plans. Here are some tips that may help your teen feel more comfortable opening up to you.

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Multi-task

Some teens are immediately on guard when an adult makes direct eye contact. If you think your teen may feel threatened by a conversation that includes direct eye contact, try talking to him while you are doing something else. You can ask him to sit near you as you prepare dinner, and you can ask him about his day while you are driving. When you appear to be focused on something else, your teen may feel a little more at ease.
 

Listen More than You Talk

When you are having a conversation with your teen, it is very important that you truly listen to what he has to say. You may be tempted to jump in with advice or stories about your own experiences, but you should hold your tongue as you listen to what your child is telling you. This will help your teen feel as though his thoughts and feelings are important, and it may encourage him to come to you when he wants or needs your advice.
 

Ask a Few Questions

In order to understand your teen as much as possible, you should ask a few questions during your conversation. However, you should take care that your questions do not sound like accusations or criticism. Focus on learning more about why your teen is making certain choices and what he may do if he is faced with difficult situations in the future.
 

Talk About Emotions

Teenagers often seem like adults, but that doesn’t mean that they understand everything that they are feeling. You can help your teen learn about dealing with his emotions and those of others by talking to him about how events have made him feel. You may also want to address healthy ways of coping with emotions so that he doesn’t turn to unhealthy habits to help himself feel better.

It is extremely important that you talk to your teen regularly so that you can help him navigate the tricky path of young adulthood. These tips will encourage your child to feel comfortable speaking with you about the issues he faces, as well as his hopes and dreams. Your time together will help you grow closer to one another, and it will help your teen develop skills that he will need as he matures.

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